L. Young

They Just Don't Know

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This soulful, smooth-voiced artist (aka Petey Weetstraw) may be a new name to some, but he's been a big behind-the-scenes player in modern R&B for years. He's shared stages with Patti Labelle, Sisqó, Toni Braxton, and Busta Rhymes and produced tracks on the soundtracks of Barbershop, Booty Call, and Phat Beach, among other impressive credits. Bland packaging won't help him make the transition, but his excellent, urgent sense of vocalizing and songwriting will. The voice texturing on the plaintive and dreamy "So Confused" helps listeners feel the depth of his melancholy dilemma, and he's not above cultural humor on the thumping, hip-hop-flavored plea "Howdy." "You Are" is less original lyrically, but is a perfectly mainstream ballad that will inspire much slow dancing. The Louisville native has no problem going rootsy with a folksy acoustic guitar and romantic storytelling under the subtle groove of "Kountry Girl," adding a little variety.

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